BOSTON -- When will Ben Simmons play again?
The answer to that got murkier Friday when Nets coach Jacque Vaughn revealed Friday that his only All-star player is now experiencing some back soreness. Simmons has missed four consecutive games with pain in his left knee.
“Update on Ben, during his strengthening process, he did experience some back soreness. Now we are in the process of strengthening the knee while also managing the back,” Vaughn said before the game. "I’m really day to day on what it looks like going forward because of the addition of back.”
When asked if he would consider not playing Simmons for the rest of the season, Vaughn shook his head.
“I’ve had no conversation, zero, about any shutdown,” he said.
Simmons missed all of last season with back and mental health issues and eventually underwent back surgery in the offseason. The 6-10 point guard suffered knee soreness off and on the whole year.
Simmons revealed a week ago in Chicago that he had fluid drained from his knee and received a platelet-rich plasma injection before the All-Star break. He said that the thought his knee problems stemmed from the offseason back surgery.
“It’s a frustrating process with the back and dealing with it all,” Simmons said. “It’s just something I have to deal with and it’s taking time.”
In the course of a few years, Simmons has gone from one of the more notable young stars in the league to a player who has struggled to contribute. Simmons is averaging a career-low 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 42 games this season.
The Nets have struggled defensively since trading away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Simmons, once considered one of the best defenders in the league, could certainly help.
Heading into Friday night, the Nets were 0-4 in the four games Simmons missed since the All-Star break. That included a 24-point loss to the Knicks and a 48-point loss to the Bulls.